Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

"Marking Time: The Rituals of Life & Death" exhibit

  • Project Overview
  • Project Details
Day of Dead set up
New case 1
New case 2
Ethafoam mount
Ethafoam mount
Ethafoam mount

Project Overview

Recipient: Scott County Historical Society

The exhibit "Marking Time: The Rituals of Life and Death" was created and installed at the Scott County Historical Society (SCHS).

Virtually every society in the world practice rituals marking the significant transitions between birth and death.  Using artifacts, photographs, text, and hands-on interactives, this exhibit examined those rituals within the historical context of Scott County (Christian and predominately Roman Catholic), new immigrants to the county (mainly Hispanic and Asian), and traditions can be easily found in the Twin Cities area (Judaism and secularism).  

Nearly eight months of research have gone into this display including reading books and talking with experts in their fields about birth customs, death customs, religion, marriage, weddings, philosophy, and history. The following work was completed to ensure the exhibit opened on time in January 2012: researched exhibit topics of birth, coming of age, courtship, marriage, weddings, and death; wrote exhibit text; designed the exhibit logo, chose text fonts and designed the text layout, and designed the exhibit layout; chose the color scheme of red, black, and white; selected artifacts for the exhibit and created object labels; worked with Link Cabinets on the construction of two new display cases; de-installed the gallery's previous exhibit; cleaned and prepped the gallery space for installation of the new exhibit; had all oversized wall text and images printed and mounted onto foamcore; carved clothing mounts; and installed the exhibit.

SCHS evaluated this project by offering an exhibit survey. In the survey, participants were asked to note how often they visited the SCHS, why they were visiting at the time they were filling in the survey, what they enjoyed most about the exhibit, if there was something different they would have preferred to see while still fitting within the exhibit's topic of the rituals of life and death, and how satisfied they were with the display. A majority of those answering the questions had visited the SCHS within the past year and were coming to see the exhibits, take part in a related event or conduct research in the library. By far their favorite parts of the exhibit were the photomontage-style displays of wedding and school portraits along the north wall of the gallery. All survey responses noted satisfaction with the exhibit and either left the question at wanting to see something different blank or asked for more historical death-related objects.


This project will live on for future generations in both tangible and intangible ways. The items purchased through the grant, particularly the display cases, ethafoam, and carving supplies, will be used by the SCHS for years to come. These items may not always reflect the exhibit "Marking Time: The Rituals of Life and Death", but they will give the SCHS an opportunity to create more comprehensive exhibits in the future for public enjoyment.


Perhaps the greatest achievement of this project was its ability to represent local communities that had never before participated in the activities of the SCHS, particularly the Mexican community in Scott County through Mary Hernandez, Shakopee Public Schools Cultural Liaison, Spanish. Mary was instrumental in bringing in individuals willing to describe their cultural traditions and loan objects for the exhibit. These connections helped present the historical society as a welcoming place for everyone.

Project Details

To create and install an exhibit on the development of rituals in Scott County history.

Fund Availability:

11/01/2011 -

Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota for 2011 Chapter 6, Article 4, Subdivision 5, Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants.

Appropriation Language
Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. $5,250,000 the first year and $5,250,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources.

Funding Amount: $3,650

Subject: History

Administering Agency

Minnesota Historical Society

Board Members:

Minnesota Historical Society Governing Board:
William R. Stoeri, President
Ram Gada, Vice President
Paul Verret, Vice President
D. Stephen Elliott, Secretary
Missy Staples Thompson, Treasurer
Suzanne Blue
Brenda J. Child
Judith S. Corson
Mark Davis
D. Stephen Elliott
Ram Gada
Phyllis Rawls Goff
William D. Green
David R. Hakensen
James T. Hale
Ruth S. Huss
Martha Kaemmer
Dennis L. Lamkin
David M. Larson
Charles Mahar
Dean M. Nelson
Elizabeth M. Nordlie
Peter Reis
Simon Stevens
Susan Kenny Stevens
William R. Stoeri
Edward C. Stringer
Karen Wilson Thissen
Missy Staples Thompson
Paul Verret
Eleanor Winston

Mark Dayton, Governor
Yvonne Prettner Solon, Lieutenant Governor
Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State
Lori Swanson, Attorney General
Rebecca Otto, State Auditor

Advisory Group Members:

Historic Resources Advisory Committee

Mark Peterson, Winona (Chair)
- Executive Director, Winona County Historical Society
- Governor's appointee to Minnesota Sesquicentennial and Minnesota Humanities Commissions
- Qualified in history, historic preservation and history museum administration

Leanne Brown, Eden Prairie
- Director of Development, Carver County Library/Library Foundation
- Formerly, Executive Director, Carver County Historical Society
- Qualified in history, project management and museum studies

Jack Byers, Minneapolis
- Manager, Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED)
- Manages CPED's Preservation and Design Section
- Qualified in historic preservation, architecture, urban geography and planning

Tamara Edevold, Bagley
- Executive Director, Clearwater County Historical Society
- Active in Minnesota's Historic Northwest, regional historical organization
- Qualified in history, archaeology, anthropology and history museum administration

Ram Gada, Eden Prairie
- Engineer
- Active in the documentation of Minnesota's East Indian community
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB), former member
- Qualified in engineering, energy consulting and grants administration

William Latady, Tower
- Bois Forte Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
- Curator, Bois Forte Heritage Museum
- Qualified in archaeology, anthropology, historic preservation and history museum administration

Benjamin Vander Kooi, Luverne
- Attorney practicing as Vander Kooi Law Offices, P.A., in Luverne, MN
- Active in Vote Yes! Campaign
- Past chair, MN State Arts Board
- Advisor, National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Qualified in historic preservation, nonprofit and grants administration

Brenda Child, Minneapolis
- Chair, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota
- Enrolled member, Red Lake Nation
- Qualified in history, American Studies and American Indian Studies

Nicole Foss, Bemidji
- Executive Director, Beltrami County Historical Society, Bemidji, MN
- Qualified in anthropology, historical archaeology, library and museum fields

Kris Kiesling, Roseville
- Director of Archives and Special Collections at University of MN Libraries
- State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) member
- Qualified in library and archives, digital services and history

Jan Louwagie, Marshall
- Coordinator, Southwest Minnesota Regional Research Center, Southwest Minnesota State University
- Founding member of Society for the Study of Local and Regional History
- Former member of State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB)
- Qualified in history and archival administration

Ann Meline, Saint Cloud
- Deputy Director, Stearns History Museum, St. Cloud
- Formerly Assistant Director/Public Programs managing Exhibits, Collections and Education Departments
- Former grant reviewer for Institute of Museum and Library Services
- Qualified in history, nonprofit and museum administration

Peter Reis, White Bear Lake
- President, White Bear Lake Area Historical Society
- Chair, Minnesota Historical Society's Grants Review Committee
- Qualified in history and nonprofit and grants administration

William Stoeri, Minneapolis
- Ex-officio member (president of the MHS Board)

Missy Staples Thompson, Saint Paul
- Ex-officio member (treasurer of the MHS Board)

Quick Facts

Project Type: Grants

Recipient: Scott County Historical Society

Funding Amount: $3,650

Source: Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund

Appropriation Years: 2012

Activity Type: Grants/Contracts

Counties Impacted: Scott

MN Senate District: 35

MN House District: 35A

This site is updated regularly with descriptions and data related to Legacy projects funded through the Minnesota Historical Society by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (ACHF).
Further information about the use and impact of all Legacy Funds can be found on the Minnesota Legislative Coordinating Commission's Minnesota's Legacy site.